Canada: Quebec wows winter cruisers - The360 Travel

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  • Friday, December 13, 2019

    Canada: Quebec wows winter cruisers

    Canada: Quebec wows winter cruisers

    Winter cruises are on the rise all over the world. And Quebec could well carve a place of choice in this new market. Explanations.

    A marked trend

    For two years, cruise passengers dream of winter. "The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which brings together cruise lines from around the world, publishes industry trend reports every year, and over the past two years, the strongest trend has been in northern and international travel. polarities, "explains Hélène Théberge, deputy director of the Croisières du Saint-Laurent association, whose main mission is to promote the St. Lawrence to international cruise lines.

    The popularity of cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic largely explains this upward trend, "but since these areas are visited by shipping ships, the door is open for other winter destinations."

    A rarity sought

    In addition to the two poles, there are currently few really winter cruises destinations. "Norway is pretty much the only one," says Théberge. Quebec could become one of the few destinations in the world to welcome boats in winter. The potential is great. Cruise lines like Hurtigruten have an interest in staying on the river for a long time, from November to April for example, while their boats are not used elsewhere. "

    Théberge adds that several shipping ships and small luxury ships have come out of the shipyards in recent years. "As the fleet of small vessels has grown, they have to be spread all over the world and find new destinations," she says. Hence the interest of several companies to diversify their itineraries offers.

    A seduction campaign

    To attract cruisers during the cold season, Croisières du Saint-Laurent has been offering cruise tours such as Ponant, Hurtigruten, Mystic Cruises and Adventure Canada since 2017 to Québec discovery tours. "Of the 30 companies that already frequent the river, 10 may be interested in winter cruises," says Théberge. They are the ones we are targeting ... "

    These discovery tours allowed representatives to discover Montreal, Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Saguenay, Gaspésie and the Îles-de-la Madeleine under their snow cover. Winter navigation on the St. Lawrence has also been debunked. "This is not an obstacle, since the boats that come here are already designed for winter conditions."

    Is there any reason to be positive? "Yes very. It is thought that a first ship could be accommodated in 2022-2023."

    Significant benefits

    For the tourism industry in Quebec, the benefits of winter cruises would be considerable, according to Théberge, from both an economic and social point of view. "In 2016, a study showed that during the summer season, which normally runs from April to the end of October, the direct and indirect economic benefits of cruises in Quebec were $ 501 million. By extending the season to 12 months a year, these benefits would be increased, even if exact numbers can not be predicted. "We could also maintain year-round some jobs in stopovers. Guides, host agents, bus drivers and tourist attractions would benefit."

    "Customers who frequent shipping ships are more active: they do not want to spend a lot of time aboard the ship. We see it with cruises in Norway, where the sales rate for guided tours is 112%! These visits are seen as exceptional experiences, which are done only once in a lifetime. One could imagine dog sledding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, Christmas market visits, winter festivals ... "And each visit would be accompanied by a guide or a local adventure producer ...

    "Passengers are very interested in the diversity of cultures,"adds Hélène Théberge. They want to find out how to adapt to winter. For many, Quebec's winter is exotic."

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